On Wednesday night, the ARRA (City Council in disguise) will get a presentation on the new proposed Preliminary Development Concept (PDC).
This will be the second time the ARRA has seen a PDC and what a difference a couple of years make! About two years ago (Oct 2005), the First PDC came to the council, who reluctantly accepted it, despite the fact that nobody, except the developer, was happy with it. With very little historic preservation, terrible land use (single family homes jammed between the hangars!), too many homes, not enough homes, you heard it. This was the first final step in a planning process begun in the mid-1990’s beginning with the Base Reuse plan that stipulated:
“Between now and the year 2020, the City of Alameda will integrate the Naval Air Station property with the City and will realize a substantial part of the Base’s potential. Revenues will have increased and a healthy local economy will have resulted from the implementation of a coordinated, environmentally sound plan of conversion and mixed-use development. While building upon the qualities which make Alameda a desirable place to live, efforts for improving recreational, cultural, educational, housing, and employment opportunities for the entire region will have been successful.”
“To facilitate implementation of the Reuse Plan, in 2002, the City of Alameda adopted a comprehensive set of General Plan policies to guide redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station consistent with the vision articulated by the Reuse Plan.”
This reuse plan gave way to a General Plan Amendment (Now Chapter 9 of the General Plan) passed by the council. The highlighted goals of the gerenal plan:
· Seamless integration of Alameda Point with the rest of the City.
· Fostering a vibrant new neighborhood.
· Maximizing waterfront accessibility.
· De-emphasizing the automobile and making new development compatible with transportation capacity.
· Ensuring economic development.
· Creating a mixed-use environment…A mixed-use approach will allow for the development of transit friendly neighborhoods with a strong pedestrian character that will foster the development of the desired small town feeling.
· Establishing neighborhood centers…Similar to existing neighborhood business districts, these centers should provide critical local services, such as grocery stores, launderettes/cleaners and small restaurants that can rely mainly on customers who walk from their homes.
Hundreds of people attended these meetings, as they did the original and current PDC meetings. At each, a solid majority and often a larger than super-majority asked to see plans that looked less, well “bad.” When the original PDC was finally adopted, the council at the time refused to include plans reflecting residents goals and desires for Alameda Point and a sustainable development. A plan that excted no one was adopted with the following caveat in the Appendix.
At the request of the Alameda community and as part of the environmental analysis for the proposed project, alternative development concepts for Alameda Point will continue to be evaluated…the Reuse Feasibility Study will include financial feasibility analyses of preserving historic buildings or Study List buildings recommended for removal in the APCP Master Plan and further evaluation of the environmental, fi nancial, and design constraints imposed by City Charter Section 26 (Measure A).
In Decemeber of last year, over 200 people packed Mastick Senior Center and 14 out of the 20 tables there supported a plan that was not Measure A compliant. Only one table chose the PDC. 5% of the attendees liked the PDC enough to vote for it.
As the ARRA mulls over its options, one will hope that building an economically sustainable project will prevail and we won’t watch five people on a dias start to try and personally rewrite nearly 15 years of community planning because 15 angry people show up at a meeting.
[Editor’s Note: adjusted (in italics) for clarity]